County commissioners decline to revisit Tara bridge plans

skennedy@bradenton.comFebruary 27, 2013 

MANATEE -- An effort to put the topic of construction of a bridge at Tara on an upcoming Manatee County Commission agenda for discussion Tuesday failed in a 3-3 vote.

East Manatee constituents want the issue discussed in public again, and would like to see plans for the bridge's construction dropped from the county's planning priority list, Commissioner Vanessa Baugh told the board at its regular meeting today.

"It is their desire ultimately for it to be removed" from the priority list, and not be built at all, Baugh said, acknowledging that the bridge has been in county plans

since 1989.

Voting in favor of a motion to put the item on a future board agenda were Commissioners Carol Whitmore, Michael Gallen and Baugh. Voting against the motion were Commissioners John Chappie, Betsy Benac and Chairman Larry Bustle. Commissioner Robin DiSabatino was absent.

Commission Chairman Larry Bustle opposed bringing the issue up again because it could "start a cascade perhaps" of things that people and neighborhoods might have changed their minds about, he said.

Commissioner John Chappie said, "It's pretty late in the process to bring it up again."

The Tara bridge, which has been reduced from four to two lanes, would span the Braden River near where it intersects with Tara Boulevard.

Officials said there is no money to build it, but that it remains on the priority list.

Tara resident Sandy Gilbert last week asked the board to drop the bridge from any consideration for future construction.

"It'd ruin our community," he said after the workshop session.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter

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